Decatur County Commissioners hear report from Chief Ranger Bryan Cottles

Published 10:42 am Thursday, November 2, 2023

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The Decatur County Commissioners gathered for their second monthly meeting on Tuesday evening. The only item on the evening’s agenda was the presentation of the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Annual Report by Chief Ranger Bryan Cottles. Cottles began by briefly summarizing several points, including recent staff turnover at the county office, though all positions are currently filled. He also mentioned that the automated telephone service for acquiring burn permits has been done away with, with new SSTAR rules for burns being implemented instead. This criteria factors in: Spacing, between the fire and other flammable vegetation; Spacing, between the fire and structures; Time, as fires are only to be burned from sunrise to sunset; Attendance, as the burner must always be present to monitor the fire; and Reasonable precautions, including weather awareness, a water source and fire suppression methods.
Cottles also discussed various fire statistics, with the amount of reported fires for this fiscal year (beginning July 1) at 21.

Following the conclusion of the report, Cottles further discussed the items mentioned with the commissioners. They discussed staff turnover and the filling of positions, with Cottles confirming that the starting salary has been raised. Other issues discussed included this year’s pine beetle damage, as well as the efforts at managing invasive cogon grass, also known as Japanese blood grass. After these discussions concluded, the commissioners approved of the presented errors and release report, gave their closing remarks, and the meeting was adjourned.

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